April 7th, 2009 |

The Great Easter Egg Hunt of 2009

Hippity, hoppity, the great Easter egg hunt of 2009 is on its way!

I remember our neighborhood Easter egg hunt as a child as being one of the highlights of our year!  Tons of kids, dressed in their Easter dresses and hats, impatiently holding their baskets and quietly planning their strategies. In a matter of seconds, all you’ll you would see were scampering feet as every pastel egg in the vicinity was plucked from its carefully chosen nest.  Eggs full of candy, pennies and small toys – oh, it was so much fun!

Easter Egg Hunt (small)

An Easter egg hunt is a great way to host a casual get-together with your neighbors (who you probably haven’t seen as much this cold winter).  Here are a few ideas to get you inspired:

Decorations

Most would imagine the Easter Bunny’s home to be in a big, beautiful, whimsical garden. With a little creativity, your backyard can live up to the expectations of the little ones when you create a colorful wonderland of fun.

  • Plant giant flowers in the yard for an incredible “wow” effect! You can buy gorgeous nylon flowers to decorate your party or make large tissue paper flowers.

Eggs

  • Allot at least five to ten eggs per child. A few weeks in advance, you can begin filling the eggs. with small treats (one per egg), such as fuzzy chicks, temporary tattoos, stickers, small toys, pennies or bulk candy.  Looking to buy your plastic eggs in bulk?!  Check out Oriental Trading for all of your supplies.
  • Create three areas in your yard: one for kids ages three and under, one for ages four to six, and one for ages seven and older. This way, young children can find eggs without being mowed down, while their older siblings get a greater challenge.

Easter Egg Treats (small)

Treats

  • Don’t forget to have some treats for your guests!  Finger food such as Easter cookies or cupcakes would be perfect….and put out some tubs of juice boxes for the kids (they are going to need something refreshing after running around looking for eggs!).

Games

To extend the length of your party (because the egg hunt will be over before you know it!), try a couple of games to keep the kids entertained.

  • Egg Toss – Have kids choose a partner and line them up in two lines, standing across from their partner.  You know how the game goes from here – have them toss their egg back and forth, each toss taking another step away from their partner, until the egg breaks!
  • Egg & Spoon Relay Race – For the older kids, separate kids into even number teams.  Each team stands in single file behind the starting line and opposite their respective flags, set in the ground about 5 yards away. At the whistle, the first player in each line, balancing an egg on a spoon, races around his team’s flag, then back to transfer the egg onto a spoon held by the next teammate. The recipient races to the flag, and the first runner hands his spoon to the third person.  The race continues until one team finishes the course. Anyone who drops an egg must run to the starting line for another before resuming.

Images: Easter baskets (potterybarnkids.com), sign (countryliving.com), jelly beans and chocolate eggs (williams-sonoma.com), bunny cupcake (flickr.com), butterflies (landofnod.com),Easter dresses (boden.com), plastic eggs (orientaltrading.com)

April 6th, 2009 |

Weekday Lunch with the Girls

weekday-lunch-intro

A weekday lunch with the girls.  I’m thinking something light….

Scallops with Asparagus

Ingredients

  • 1 lb medium asparagus
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lb large sea scallops, tough ligament removed from side of each if attached
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces

Directions

Trim asparagus, then cut stems into 1/4-inch-thick diagonal slices, leaving tips whole.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté asparagus, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate, reserving skillet off heat (do not clean).

Pat scallops dry and sprinkle with pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and heat over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté half of scallops, turning over once, until browned and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes total. Transfer scallops with tongs to another plate as cooked.

Wipe out skillet with paper towels, then add remaining tablespoon oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté remaining scallops, turning over once, until browned and cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes total, transferring to plate. (Do not wipe out skillet after second batch.)

Carefully add wine and vinegar to skillet (mixture may spatter) and boil, scraping up brown bits, until liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 1 minute. Add any scallop juices accumulated on plate and bring to a simmer.

Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until incorporated.

Add asparagus and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.

Serve scallops topped with asparagus and sauce.  Recipe via Epicurious.

weekday-lunch-food-small

A couple of compliments for our Scallops with Asparagus: to drink, Campari & Soda and for dessert,  Strawberry Genoise with Whipped Cream!

Images: peonies (styleathome.com), campari & soda drink, strawberry genoise (williams-sonoma.com),

scallops with asparagus (epicurious.com)

April 5th, 2009 |

New Feature: Picture Galleries

I am so excited to announce a new feature on The Party Dress today! If you notice on the left side bar, there is a new section called Picture Galleries. I have taken the categories that we focus on the most – napkins, centerpieces, placecards, cupcakes and wedding cakes – and set up picture galleries so that it is easier for you to find specific images to use as inspiration. If you click on one of the galleries – this is what will pop up:

new-gallery-feature-post

The galleries will be updated weekly with ideas I use in our daily posts.   So check back often….but for now, enjoy!

April 3rd, 2009 |

A Garden Party

Garden Party Invitation (small)

Now that Spring has Sprung, it’s time to start thinking about entertaining outside.  Hosting a party in a garden setting is one of the easiest to do in terms of decor….you have nature right at your finger tips.

A Garden Party theme is great for a bridal or baby shower, birthday party, Easter or Mother’s Day…..start by inviting your guests with a colorful invitation full of flowers, butterflies or bugs.

Garden Party Decor (small)

Use the color white to create a clean and simple palette – it will look crisp and spring-like surrounded by the green of the garden.  Make sure to use greenery and flowers throughout – on the bar, food tables, serving trays.

For placecards, plant different herbs in mini terracotta pots (available at your local craft stores).  Write your guest’s name on a Popsicle stick and place it in the pot.  They will look charming on your table and make a lovely favor for your guests to bring home.

If you have trees branches that stretch across the yard over your tables, try hanging white lanterns.  It’s a great way to add more of the white color in and helps to add a sense of festivity to the yard – and if your party continues into the evening, it will provide soft lighting and encourage your guests to stay and enjoy the party!

Garden Party People (small)

Images: colorful invitations (pearlbeachpaperie.com), herb placecards (brides.com), cheese buffet (toddevents.com), white tulips (stylemepretty.com)

April 2nd, 2009 |

Gift Idea: A Celebration Snack

celebration-snackI love this idea from Matthew Mead Style – a box full of celebratory snacks.  Perfect for the newlyweds as they depart their wedding, a lovely gesture for a special friend on her birthday, or even for a modern-day picnic in the park.

Packed full of specialty items such as champagne, crackers and cheese, fruit and chocolate….this gift is sure to put a smile on the recipients face!  The clear packaging makes this concept look new, and oh so enticing.  You can find an acrylic box, such as the one pictured above, at Container Store.

April 2nd, 2009 |

High-Style Modern Letterpress

Elum Designs (small)

Elum Designs is one of my FAVORITE paper companies!

They combine the luxe elegance of letterpress printing with high-style modern designs – and the result is so fresh and updated looking it’s perfect for any special occassion.  Offering wedding invitations, baby announcements, custom stationary and designer gift wrap – you can find their amazing products at elumdesigns.com.

April 1st, 2009 |

Easter: Coming up Daisies

Easter is the start of the Spring/Summer event season.  Bridal showers, baby showers, birthday parties, graduations, Mother’s Day…..so many parties, so little time!

Since we are now officially in the month of April, it’s time to start thinking about Easter.  What are your plans?  A family brunch, an Easter egg hunt for the kids, a traditional Easter dinner?  I will be giving you all kinds of great ideas in the next couple of weeks leading up to the big day.

Today, I have a daisy-inspired Easter brunch to share with you.  I love this inspiration board because it’s not cheesy-Easter, it’s bright, sunny and really could be the inspiration for any Spring event.

Daisy Party (small)

Oh, and check out Southern Weddings Magazine blog for some adorable ideas for a daisy-inspired wedding!

Images: daisy centerpiece (flickr.com), white daisy dress, yellow placesetting, daisy floral balls (brides.com), novelty pillows (wshome.com)

March 31st, 2009 |

Napkin of the Week: Modern Bunny Ears

Bunny Ears (small)

With Easter quickly approaching, I thought it would be appropriate to show the first (of a few!) napkin ideas for your Easter celebration.  By using a bright colored napkin, these bunny ears energize any modern table!

Instructions

Bunny Ears Instructions (small)

Step 1

Take a solid-colored square napkin, and starch it for optimal workability. Thinner napkins work better, so choose a linen napkin over a thick cotton one.

Step 2

Fold the napkin in half.

Step 3

Fold the napkin in half again, to form a long rectangle.

Step 4

Fold the right and left sides up to meet in the center, forming a point at one end.

Step 5

Repeat with the opposite corners.

Step 6

Fold the side corners in so they meet in the center, but don’t fold exactly straight. Pull up above the center point, and you’ll start to see the ears shape up. The napkin will form a kite shape.

Step 7

Gently turn your napkin over.

Step 8

Fold the bottom point up, so that it is roughly 1” above the center of the napkin.

Step 9

Carefully, turn the napkin over again.

Step 10

Roll the left side over, slightly past the center of the napkin.

Step 11

Fold the right side over, tucking the end into the pocket you created on the left side, holding your napkin together.

Step 12

Turn the napkin upright, separating the bottom to form a base. Fluff your bunny’s ears.

Instructions via Good Housekeeping, images via Flickr

March 30th, 2009 |

Couture Cookies

I like to think of myself as a cookie “artist” – I decorate sugar cookies for every holiday and have been known to get a couple of compliments.  BUT….my cookies don’t come close to these!  I’m totally jealous of their modern designs.

Gumdrop Cookie Shop offers “couture” cookies and will ship them right to your door!  Choose from a variety of adorable designs, or ask them to customize with your unique design, logo or message.  These cookies would make darling party favors for any party!

Gumdrop Cookies (small)

If you are looking for a creative idea for your child’s birthday party, I absolutely love this idea…..Gumdrop Cookie Shop will send you a kit with frosted cookies, edible ink markers, cello bags and raffia (to package) – the kids can design their own sugar cookie!  It’s a great activity and favor!
Cookie Kit (small)

Images via Gumdrop Cookie Shop

March 30th, 2009 |

Crazy Lady Birthday Lunch

Crazy Lady Dresses (small)

One of the biggest trends for Spring 2009 is “Crazy Lady Chic” – full of patterns, florals and every color of the rainbow – this trend can be a colorful inspiration for both fashion and parties this season.

Crazy Lady Birthday Lunch (small)

A couple of easy ideas for food: ladies like to eat light, especially at lunch time.  So keep the meal to a minimum; serve a fresh salad with fruit, and save up those calories for a strawberry-lime stuffed cupcake for dessert!

This idea could be used for a birthday party or a shower – mix and match colorful chairs, different patterns of china, and a variety of whimsical flowers.  I love the pink candelabras with green candles!  (Think pink candelabras are hard to find?  Check your local Home Goods, Marshall’s or Target for any color, cheap candelabra….and then spray paint it whatever color you desire!)

Place cards add a lovely, personal touch to any party.  I absolutely love this idea of using grass and miniature cups!  So easy to do yourself, and you could really use any type of glass – a mini tea cup, espresso mug or even a shot glass.  These are so cute, your guests will be thrilled to take them home with them as a reminder of their sunny afternoon!

Flower Placecard (small)

Dress Images: strapless floral dress, floral dress & cardigan, floral print dress (nordstrom.com)

Party Images: strawberry cupcake (foodnetwork.com), pink napkin (via Napkins with a Twist),

ribbon candy (amyatlas.com), pink lemonade and flower placecards (theknot.com)

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